Last month, Riot Games announced the European League Championship Series (the top-flight League of Legends competition in Europe) would be moving to a new format. This includes a new schedule structure (best-of-threes instead of best-of-twos, different broadcast dates, one viewing stream), but it also means a new of organizing the teams within the league.
After years of all ten teams being in one unified league standings table, like most European soccer leagues, the EU LCS is splitting its teams into two groups, like most North American sports leagues.
Unlike most North American sports leagues, these groups will be dynamic and re-drafted every year. The top two teams from the previous year will each be assigned to different groups and kick off a snake draft, with each team picking a team for the opposite group.
That sounds complicated (because it is), but it makes more sense once you see it in action.
#EULCS 2017 Explained: Groups & Format pic.twitter.com/gZnXObiZtl— lolesports (@lolesports) January 10, 2017
This year, defending champions G2 Esports and runners-up H2K Gaming received the first picks, representing Group A and Group B, respectively. G2 selected Splyce with the first pick of the draft, placing the Danish squad into Group B with H2K. H2K responded by picking Fnatic, placing the long-time powerhouse in G2’s group, followed by Splyce picking Misfits to join G2 and Fnatic in Group A.
Fnatic picked Team Vitality, while Misfits picked the Unicorns of Love, placing those two teams in Group B. Vitality picked Giants Gaming and UOL picked ROCCAT, placing both in Group A and leaving Origen to be placed in Group B as the final team.
Here’s how the groups shake out:
Unicorns of Love
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Each team will face the other teams in its group in two best-of-threes, and will face each team in the opposite group in one best-of-three. The top three teams from each group will make the playoffs.